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Splitting and blaming: The psychic life of neoliberal executive women

Baker, Darren T and Kelan, Elisabeth K (2019) 'Splitting and blaming: The psychic life of neoliberal executive women.' Human Relations, 72 (1). pp. 69-97. ISSN 0018-7267

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The aim of the article is to explore the psychic life of executive women under neoliberalism using psychosocial approaches. The article shows how, despite enduring unfair treatment and access to opportunities, many executive women remain emotionally invested in upholding the neoliberal ideal that if one perseveres, one shall be successful, regardless of gender. Drawing on psychosocial approaches, we explore how the accounts given by some executive women of repudiation, as denying gender inequality, and individualization, as subjects completely agentic, are underpinned by the unconscious, intertwined processes of splitting and blaming. Women sometimes split off undesirable aspects of the workplace, which repudiates gender inequality, or blame other women, which individualizes failure and responsibility for change. We explain that splitting and blaming enable some executive women to manage the anxiety evoked from threats to the neoliberal ideal of the workplace. This article thereby makes a contribution to existing postfeminist scholarship by integrating psychosocial approaches to the study of the psychic life of neoliberal executive women, by exploring why they appear unable to engage directly with and redress instances of gender discrimination in the workplace.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: blaming; individualization; neoliberalism; postfeminism; psychic life; psychosocial; repudiation; splitting
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2020 15:21
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 13:52

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